Giants Team Defense – Linebackers

The Giants have a history of great linebackers. Bill Parcells’ linebacker corp of the ’80s is ranked by nflnetwork as one of the top ten of all time. It was composed of Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Gary Reasons and Carl Banks.  Taylor was the number two pick in the ’81 draft and Banks was the number three pick in the ’84 draft. Reasons and Carson were fourth round picks. All four picks were made within a nine year period. In the last nine drafts the Giants picked four linebackers at round 5, 4 and two at 6.

Markus Golden

Markus Golden is ninth in the league in pressures with 35. He is the leader on the Giants in sacks with 8.5 which is 19th in the league. Golden leads all Giants in quarterback knockdowns with 10 which is 12th in the league. He leads all Giants in quarterback hurries with 13 which is tie for 13th in the league. In coverage he has been targeted twice allowing one reception for six yards and only two yards after the catch.

David Mayo

Going into week 13 David Mayo was the 17th highest graded linebacker for the season by Pro Football Focus. Mayo is an athletic linebacker. At his 2015 Pro Day he met inside linebacker targets in six of his eight events. In the Patriot game Mayo recorded eight solo tackles and a quarterback hit.  David Mayo made the NFL a goal of his in the 4th grade. After getting zero division I offers out of high school he enrolled in Santa Monica Junior College, which had a reputation of sending players on to FBS programs. For a semester when he was attending the junior college, Mayo lived in a 10 x 15 uninsulated shed in a woman’s backyard in Southern California. He later transferred to Texas State and was drafted in the fifth round by the Panthers. In four years on the Panthers he started 4 games. This his first year on the Giants Mayo has started 10 games.

Alec  Ogletree

Alec Ogletree‘s 86.4% completion percentage on 44 passing targets is 261st out of 268 players with 20+ passing targets. His 5.39 yards after the catch per reception is 197th among the 268 players. He is the third most targeted Giant following Janoris Jenkins and DeAndre Baker. His 4.09 solo tackles per game is third most on the Giants and highest among Giant linebackers by 1.32 solo tackles/game.

Four of the top five rated inside linebackers by Pro Football Focus have a 12% team market share of solo tackles. Ogletree has an 8.5% team market share.  The last time the Giants had a linebacker with 11% or better solo tackle team market share was in 2006 when Antonio Pierce had 107 solo tackles for 12.5%.  Peirce was signed as an free agent with the Giants in 2005. Pierce had signed as an undrafted free agent by the Redskins following the 2001 NFL draft.

Lorenzo Carter

Lorenzo Carter is one of 18 players since 2006 that in their first 27 career games had five passes defended, fifteen quarterback hits, fifty solo tackles and seven sacks. Carter and Sam Hubbard are the only players this year to achieve this. Of the 18 the Giants have the most players with three who are Lorenzo Carter, Jason Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka. Carter accomplished this playing in only 40% and 66% of the defensive snaps over his two season career.

Oshane Ximines

In his rookie season of 2019 Oshane Ximines is eighth  among 75 rookie defensive linemen and linebackers in sacks with four. He has accomplished this on just 45% of the defensive snaps.

Looking Forward

The linebacker position has become even more important  these days with the proliferation of screen passes, run-pass-options, increased use of tight ends, increased use of slot receivers and rushing quarterbacks. They must be able to stop the run and drop back into pass coverage. The outside linebackers must also be adept at rushing the quarterback. They need speed, a high football IQ, good vision, lateral speed and strong hips for change of direction.

Draft Prospects For Linebacker. All five prospects have had a 12% or better solo tackle team market share  some season in their college career. That percentage is indicative of future All-Pro or Pro-Bowl level play. Projected draft rounds are from CBS Sports 7 round mock draft.

Isaiah Simmons, Clemson – Simmons won the 2019 Butkus Award given to the nation’s top linebacker (Proj Rd 1)

Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma – In 2018 tie for second in the nation in total tackles with 155. (Proj Rd 1)

Troy Dye, Oregon – One of only three players that over the last five seasons had two seasons of 100+ tackles, 60+ solo tackles, 4+ passes defended and an interception. (Proj Rd 2)

Paddy Fisher, Northwestern – Tie for first among FBS active career leaders in forced fumbles with ten. (Proj Rd 4)

Markus Bailey, Purdue – Third in the FBS active career leaders in solo tackles per game with 5.09. (Proj Rd 5)

Draft Prospects for Outside Linebackers/Edge Rushers. All listed prospects meet target team market share indicative of All-Pro to Pro-Bowl players. For edge defenders those are 6.3% solo tackles, 25% sacks and 15,3% tackles for loss. The only exception is Basham who missed only on solo tackles recording a 4.9%.

Chase Young , Ohio State – Winner of 2019 Chuck Bednarik Award, Ted Hendricks Award and Bronko Nagurski Award.  2019 Big Ten Defensive Player of Year. One of four finalists for the Heisman Trophy. (Proj Rd 1)

Curtis Weaver, Boise State – 2019 Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year.  Second among FBS active career leaders in Sacks per game (0.85) and fourth in Tackles For Loss per game (1.16) (Proj Rd 2)

Carlos Basham Jr. Wake Forest – 2019 All-ACC First Team. In the ACC is second in Tackles For Loss and third in Sacks and Forced Fumbles. (Proj Rd 2)

Kenny Willekes, Michigan State – 2018 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. One of only nine players over the last five seasons to have 90 solo tackles, 45 tackles for loss and 20 sacks. In that group of nine Willekes had the third most passes defended with seven. (Proj Rd 3)

Bradlee Anae, Utah – 2019 All Pac-12  First Team. Anae was a two time First Team selection. One of nine players in the NCAA that in 2019 have 25 solo tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.(Proj Rd 3)

Enjoy the Giants vs Miami Game! Hopefully the Giants get a win and break the losing streak! Go Giants! Go Eli!

Giants Team Defense – The Secondary

Today I look at the defensive Giant’s secondary. The Giants are 25th in passing yards per game allowed (258.6 yards). They are 28th in passer rating allowed (101.7).  The Giants are tied for last in yards allowed per pass attempt (8.5 yards). They are 28th in opposition touchdown % with 5.7% touchdowns thrown when attempting to pass. While the Giant’s pass rush is not nearly as good as it was in their glory days it is not near the bottom of the league. In quarterback pressure percentage they are 22.2% which is tie for 17th in the league.  A large part of their pass defense woes rests on the play of their secondary. Let’s look at those players.

Cornerbacks

20 Janoris Jenkins CB 5-10 190 31 2016/UFA 2021

Janoris Jenkins has four interceptions and 14 passes defended over 12 games this season. That productivity is first (interceptions – tie) and second (passes defended) in his career. His four interceptions is tie for fourth in the league. His passer rating allowed is 62.1 which is 26th out of 267 qualifying players. His 51.4% completion percentage allowed is 22nd of 267. Janoris Jenkins has one pass interference call against him this season for 25 yards and four defensive holding calls for a total of 20  yards.

23 Sam Beal CB 6-1 177 23 2018/3 2022

Sam Beal’s pro day results for the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump all met cornerback target goals. His vertical and broad jump would be in the top ten for cornerbacks in 2018. As reported on Pro Football Focus Sam Beal allowed the lowest passer rating (35.2) in the MAC on throws into his coverage in 2017. In 2019 Beal played in only 8% of the Giants defensive snaps. He was targeted twice and gave up two receptions for 15 yards total. He also has one pass interference penalty for 11 yards.

34 Grant Haley CB 5-9 190 23 2018/UDFA 2020

Grant Haley was signed by the Giants as an undrafted free agent following the 2018 draft. Pro Football Focus rated Haley as one of the top graded rookie cornerbacks in 2018 and one of the top five overall cornerbacks in the NFC East. However the statistics for 2018 do not concur. In 2018 Haley had a 126.9 passer rating allowed when targeted (35 out of 40 rookie defensive backs with 10+ targets) and allowed a 63.9% completion percentage (21 out of 40 rookie defensive backs with 10+ targets). He allowed four touchdowns which was tie at 21 out of 28 rookie cornerbacks with 25+ targets.

So far in 2019 PFF has graded Haley with a 53.3 grade. In 2019 Haley allowed a 111.8 passer rating when targeted and a 82.1% completion percentage for 32 completions. He had zero passes defended and has yet to get an interception. He committed one pass interference penalty for 15 yards. His 8.8 yards per target allowed is tie for 214th among 267 players.

30 Antonio Hamilton CB 6-0 190 26 2018/Waivers 2020

Like Cody Core, Antonio Hamilton is a bright spot as a gunner on special teams. Hamilton has recorded three solo tackles on special teams which is second only behind Cody Core. As reported by Patricia Traina, in almost every punt either Core or Hamilton is usually the first player down field.

In coverage Hamilton has not done well. He has logged his highest defensive snap percentage (6%) of his four year career this season. He was targeted eight times and gave up eight receptions for 81 yards. He has averaged allowing 5.75 yards after the catch per reception.

27 Deandre Baker CB 5-11 180 22 2019/1 2023

In his rookie season Deandre Baker is 28th in Passer Rating allowed (119 on 63 targets) among 33 defensive back rookies with 10+ targets. His 63.5% completion percentage was 17th among 33 rookie defensive backs with 10+ targets. His 10.3 yards allowed per target was 29th among the 33 rookie defensive backs. Baker’s average 5.2 yards after the catch per reception was 26th among the 33.  Baker has zero interceptions and only three passes defended. He has three pass interference penalties, tow defensive holding and one unsportsmanlike conduct for a total of 93 yards in penalties. he leads the Giants in penalty yards by 43 yards. Baker is not on Twitter and tunes out the negative comments. He vows to become an elite corner. Baker played in 87% of the defensive snaps at week 13.

25 Corey Ballentine CB 5-11 196 23 2019/6 2023

In his rookie season Corey Ballentine is 29th in Passer Rating allowed (119.7 on 25 targets)  among 33 defensive back rookies with 10+ targets. He is 23rd among those rookies with a 72% completion percentage. His 10.6 yards allowed per target is 31st among those 33 rookies. His 5.72 yards allowed after the catch is 30th among those 33 rookies. Ballentine has zero interceptions and one pass defensed on only 23% of the defensive snap counts. Ballentine has zero penalties committed.

Free Safety

24 Julian Love FS 5-10 195 21 2019/4 2023

Julian Love has played in 13% of the defensive snaps mostly in the last two games. He has one interception, one pass defended, one forced fumble and five solo tackles. He was targeted twice for two completions and 23 yards. He has zero missed tackles and an average of only 3.5 yards after the catch per reception. He is one of the bright spots among the rookies and looks to get more playing time as the year winds down.

41 Antoine Bethea FS 5-11 206 35 2019/UFA 2021

Antoine Bethea has had 24 targets and allowed 20 receptions for an 83.3% completion percentage. That is tie for 309th out of 334 players that had 10+ passing targets. His 141 passer rating allowed when targeted is 323rd. His 16.4 yards allowed per target is second to last. His 8.3 yards allowed after the catch is 322nd. He has allowed six touchdowns which is tie at 329th.  Bethea has one interception and three passes defended on 100% of the defensive snaps. He has only one penalty for defensive holding for zero yards.

In Conclusion

The argument that they are young is not that strong an argument. There are five teams that have two starters in the secondary 22 years old or younger and one team (ARZ) that have three. One of the Giants young starters, Julian Love, started only one game.  The Packers have two starters 22 years old that started 10 ad 12 games.

The coaching staff had been called out by Janoris Jenkins following the Green Bay game. His gripe was that they do not have him travel with the opposition’s best receiver. Whether his gripe is a legitimate coaching flaw is secondary to the fact that tension between the staff and the secondary player spilled out to the media.

The Giants coaching staff has Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher. Bettcher has a history of coaching linebackers, defensive ends, special teams and defensive line but there does not appear to be any specific defensive backs coaching experience. The Defensive Backs Coach Everett Withers definitely has that experience but only at the college level. In fact this year is his first NFL experience.  The Assistant Defensive Backs Coach Henry Baker likewise is in his first year coaching in the NFL. However Henry Baker has some professional experience. Baker was a four-year letter-winner and two-year starter in the Maryland secondary from 1994-97. He signed with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs in 2003 after time in the Arena Football League and AFL2.

The coaching staff is one area the team may need to look at for next season specifically for secondary coaching. Perhaps an experienced NFL secondary assistant coach can be brought in. Although the development of Julian Love and Jenkins improvement are positives for the current staff.

After having spent four draft picks on secondary players over the last two drafts, the Giants may need to seriously consider at least another in the upcoming draft. They need to play Julian Love more to see if he could be a starter in 2020.

Enjoy the Monday Night Game – Go Giants !  Go Eli !!

The Giant Team Offense

Today I look at each Giant player on the active roster from the offense with snaps this season. The Player is listed with their position, height, weight, age, signed year and last contract year. This is followed by a blurb on the player and their productivity.

Quarterback

8 Daniel Jones QB 6-5 221 22 2019/1 2023

The only rookie quarterback since 1950 to have three games of 300+ passing yards, two passing touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 112+. Also the only rookie quarterback to have two games of 300+ passing yards and four passing touchdowns.

10 Eli Manning QB 6-5 220 38 2004/Trade 2020

Two time Super Bowl MVP.  One of only five players with multiple Super Bowl MVP awards. Eighth in all time career passing yards and passing touchdowns. Ninth in career game winning drives. Iron Man – Tie for tenth in consecutive starts with 210. Also

  • Most 4th-quarter touchdown passes in a season (15 in 2011)
  • Tied NFL Record longest pass completion and touchdown (99 yards in 2011)
  • Tied NFL Record most game-winning drives in a season (8 in 2011)
  • Most road wins in a single regular season and postseason by a starting quarterback (10)
  • Most passing yards in a single postseason (1,219 yards in 2011)
  • Only QB in NFL history without throwing an interception in multiple conference championship starts.

Running Backs:

26 Saquon Barkley RB 5-11 233 22 2018/1 2022

One of only five running backs since 1950 to have 2700+ yards from scrimmage in their first 24 game starts.

22 Wayne Gallman RB 6-0 210 25 2017/4 2021

Wayne Gallman is one of only ten running backs this season to have 6.8+ yards per receiving target, a 73% catch percentage, 3.7+ yards per rush attempt and 3+ touchdowns.

39 Elijhaa Penny RB 6-2 234 26 2018/PS 2020

In the 2018 season only three qualifying fullbacks received a better run-blocking grade than the 63.2 Elijhaa Penny got from Pro Football Focus.

37 Javorius Allen RB 6-0 218 28 2019/UFA 2020

Allen had his first carry of the season against the Packers when he ran for four yards on a first and ten. Javorius Allen made the 2014 All Pac-12 First team.

Wide Receivers:

87 Sterling Shepard WR 5-10 201 26 2016/2 2024

Fearless. That has described Shepard since his college days. He goes over the middle to make catches without hesitation from large hits. After suffering a second concussion this season and missing six games, sources say the Giants were seriously considering placing him on season-ending injured reserve. For the season Shepard has zero drops on 50 targets. Among wide receivers with 50+ targets only four have zero drops.

15 Golden Tate WR 5-10 197 31 2019/UFA 2023

Golden Tate leads Giant receivers in yards after the catch per reception at 6.3. That is tie for seventh best among wide receivers in the league. From the time Tate entered the league in 2010 to the start of the 2019 season Tate leads the NFL with 4,048 yards after catch.

86 Darius Slayton WR 6-1 190 22 2019/5 2023

Fifth round draft pick Darius Slayton is one of only four rookie wide receivers to have 500+ receiving yards, 5+ receiving touchdowns and 8+ receiving yards per target. He was the latest drafted player among the four and chosen almost 100 picks after the third selected player. Slayton made wide receiver targets in seven of his eight combine events. He was in the top ten among wide receivers in five events. In his 2017 college season Slayton averaged 22.2 yards per reception. That was fifth best in the nation.

12 Cody Latimer WR 6-2 215 27 2018/UFA 2020

Last season on the Giants Latimer had the fourth best yards per target in the league for wide receivers with 10+ targets. He had 16 targets over six games and a 11.88 yards per target. That year his yards per reception in each of the five games he was targeted did not drop below 10 yards. Since joining the Giants last season his yards per reception has increased 2.6 yards to 15.3 and his yards per target has increased 1.7 yards to 9.0. This season 14 of his 16 receptions made first down. That 87.5% conversion rate is the highest on the Giants for over one reception.

17 Cody Core WR 6-3 205 25 2019/Waivers 2020

As reported by Patricia Traina, Cody Core is the second-highest graded Giants special teams player according to Pro Football Focus. Core leads the unit in tackles with seven, including five solo. Core has pinned at least three punts inside the 20 this year.

5 Da’Mari Scott WR 6-0 205 24 2019/UFA N/A

After going undrafted following the 2018 draft and transitioning thru the Browns and the Bill, Da’Mari Scott had his first NFL reception in the Giants-Packers game for eleven yards and a first down. It was his first game activated on the Giants and he was targeted twice. Scott is a hard-working motivated player that has fought thru adversity to get where he is today.

Tight Ends/H-Backs:

88 Evan Engram TE 6-3 240 25 2017/1 2021

Since joining the Giants in 2017, Evan Engram is sixth among tight ends in receiving yards per game and also in total receiving yards. Over that time-frame he is tie for ninth in receiving touchdowns among tight ends.

85 Rhett Ellison TE 6-5 255 31 2017/UFA 2021

Since joining the Giants in 2017 after five years on the Vikings, Rhett Ellison’s yards per game have increased 238%. and his touchdowns per year by 222%. Over his time on the Giants his 71.3% catch rate is tenth best among tight ends with 50+ receptions. This season his nine receptions per broken tackle is twelfth best among tight ends with 10+ receptions. Ellison is a good blocker also. Evan Engram referred to Ellison as “definitely a teach-tape in the blocking game. ” Pat Schurmur likes Ellison’s toughness.

“He finds a way to make plays—he’s very trustworthy and very tough, and he’s wired like a football player, and that is what you’re looking for. I made the analogy, and this probably isn’t fair because I don’t know Mark Bavaro that well, but I sensed the same kind of aura when I met him the other night – just a tough guy that’s going to do what he’s asked and let the chips fall. That’s what Rhett is.”

An interesting note is that Ellison’s dad was one of the San Francisco 49er linebackers that Bavaro was carrying on his famous 31 yard reception against the 49ers in ’86.

82 Kaden Smith TE 6-5 249 22 2019/Waivers 2023

Rookie Kaden Smith is seventh in receiving yards (88 yards) among all-time rookie tight ends who in their first five games had an 80% catch rate and a receiving touchdown. Smith was one of three finalists for the 2018 John Mackey Award given to the most outstanding collegiate tight end.

83 Scott Simonson TE 6-5 255 27 2018/UFA 2020

Scott Simonson grew up a Giants fan going to games with his father in the upper deck of old Giants stadium. Simonson is a blocking tight end that can be used in two tight end formations which they have used on 35% of their rush plays. He can make the catch and has one reception on one target this season for ten yards and a first down on a touchdown drive.

Offensive Linemen:

76 Nate Solder OT 6-8 325 31 2018/UFA 2022

“You know what? I haven’t been playing this whole season very well. I felt like myself today at times, which I was happy about. So, I think that we have to build off of that and continue to improve,”

As of week eleven Solder had allowed the second-most sacks (8) and the fourth-most total pressures (35) among NFL tackles this season as reported by Sports Illustrated. Nate Solder is a leader. On and off the field, Nate displays his work ethic, integrity, humility, honesty and teamwork in everything he does. He has battled cancer both himself and with his young son Hudson. He has traveled to third world countries to help children. Nate continues to work hard to improve and embodies the characteristics that make the Giants a class organization. When informed that the Cleveland Browns were perhaps interested in trading for him at the trade deadline Nate hoped it did not occur and wants to stay a Giant. He replied ““I love being here, I love this group of guys and I love this team,”

74 Mike Remmers OT 6-5 310 30 2019/UFA 2020

As of week twelve Remmers had surrendered 36 pressures and three sacks at right tackle. In 2015 Remmers started all 16 games at Right Tackle on the Panthers team that advanced to the Super Bowl. In 2017 he started 11 regular season games and two playoff appearances on a Vikings team that advanced to the NFC Championship game. Remmers has versatility to play either tackle or guard. In his last season on the Vikings in 2018 Remmers played 100% on the offensive snaps and allowed 42 pressures. That was tied for third most among guards.

79 Eric Smith OT 6-4 308 24 2019/Waivers 2020

Eric Smith was signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2017 draft by the Dolphins. In 2018 he was signed to the Patriots practice squad. In December 2018 the Jets signed Smith off the Patriots practice squad. The Giants claimed him off waivers to start the 2019 season. Smith played his first NFL regular season game week 10 on the Giants against the Jets. He was in on 53 snaps for 77% of the offensive snaps. He replaced Nate Solder who suffered a concussion. Smith gave up two sacks but also made some nice blocks.

71 Will Hernandez OG 6-2 327 24 2018/2 2022

Coming into the 2019 season Pro Football Focus rated Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler as the fifth top guard tandem in the league.  For his 2018 rookie season they reported that Hernandez allowed just 29 pressures from 664 pass-blocking snaps and committed just two penalties on 1,027 offensive snaps. Hernandez made the 2018 NFL All-Rookie team. Through week 8 this season Pro Football Focus reported that Hernandez cracked the top 10 in pass blocking grade (79.3) among all qualified guards. They report that he needs to improve his run blocking grade which was only 51.7 thru week seven.

70 Kevin Zeitler OG 6-4 315 29 2019/Trade 2022

As mentioned above Pro Football Focus had Zeitler and Hernandez as the fifth best guard tandem prior to the 2019 season. For the 2018 season Pro Football Focus had Zeitler as their highest graded guard in pass-blocking – he also led the league in snaps per pressure allowed. Zeitler made the PFF team of the week in week 10 against the Jets. He allowed just two pressures and had a 72.3 run blocking grade.

65 Nick Gates OG 6-5 307 24 2018/UDFA 2021

Nick Gates saw the first significant playing time of his two year career in week 10 against the Jets.  He played 100% of the offensive snaps filling in for an injured Mike Remmers at right tackle. As reported by PFF he allowed 2 total pressures in 54 pass blocking snaps. He had a 64.7 overall grade and the 2nd best run blocking grade among the Giants offensive line. Both coach Schurmur and offensive line coach Hal Hunter refer to Gates as a tough player. Gate splayed all five line positions in the preseason. Hal Hunter says he shows a lot of promise and he is glad to have him.

75 Jon Halapio OC 6-3 315 28 2016/UFA 2020

Jon Halapio was drafted in round six of the 2014 NFL draft by the Patriots. From then until September 2016 he was on the offseason team or practice squad of three different teams and twice on the  Patriots. He also did two stints in the Fall Experimental Football League. There was also a stretch out of football selling used cars. All the time he kept training and never gave up his dream to play in the NFL. In September 2016 he signed on the Giants practice squad. In 2017 when JD Fluker was injured Halapio started the last six games of the season. In 2018 he won the starting center job, a position he picked up while training out of football. In the second game of 2018 he broke his leg and was out for the season. In his two games in 2019 in 116 snaps of action he didn’t allow a single pressure, despite almost 50 pass-blocking snaps.  Returning as the starting center in 2019 he has started every game. So far in 734 snaps he has given up two sacks and committed just two penalties. As of week 11 Halapio has allowed 18 pressures and surrendered two sacks, the third-most among centers. His PFF grade on the year is 51.8.

77 Spencer Pulley OC 6-4 308 26 2018/Waivers 2022

In 2018 Spencer Pulley filled in at center for an injured Jon Halapio. Spencer played 55% of the offensive snaps. He finished the 2018 season with an average Pro Football Focus grade of 55.9. This season he started in the Jets game after Jon Halapio was injured with a hamstring injury. Pro Football Focus gives Pulley a 42.0 rating for the season.

In Conclusion

Sterling Shepard, Jon Halapio and Evan Engram are the only starters on offense that are in their third year or more on the team. The rest of the offensive starters are in their first or second year on the Giants.

Among the starters this is a talented offense. Eight of the eleven starters have played well over the last one or two seasons. They are

QB Daniel Jones
WR Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Golden Tate
TE Evan Engram
RB Saquon Barkley
OL Kevin Zeitler, Will Hernandez, Nate Solder

According to Pro Football Focus, Nate Solder had a solid debut season in New York. So far in his second season he is rated at 65.7 by PFF. Their average across starting left tackles in the league is 67.1. That puts Solder only -1.4 below average. The average of teams compared to the average is – 5.3. There are nine teams that are greater than -5 below the average. Most of those teams are doing bad this season. However it does include the Patriots and the Chiefs. There are only nine team that are +5 above the average. Most of those teams are doing good. However it does include the Lions and the Falcons. So Solders solid first year coupled with an average second year got him on the good list.

Mike Remmers and Jon Halapio on the line are good players with room for improvement. The offense has decent depth behind the starters some of which filled in during the 2019 season and performed decently. For the draft best player available is a good way to go. If players are close on offense picking an offensive tackle, a wide receiver and a backup quarterback seem like good positions to build for the future.

The Giants Are Improving And Not Just Behind The Scenes

Giant head coach Pat Schurmur is taking a lot of heat for his comment that the Giants are improving behind the scenes. He has been called for to be fired in the media and on social network sites. However Shurmur is correct in saying the team is improving and it is not just behind the scenes. The team statistics for the first six games compared to the last six games show significant improvement in many key areas. The improvement has not translated yet into wins and thus Schurmur is getting attacked.

This is an update on a prior post Ten Areas the Giants Have Improved And Thoughts On Coach Changes.  For today I look at the whole season’s twelve games split in half comparing weeks 1-6 with weeks 7-13 including the latest stats from the Green Bay loss.

Statistic Week 7-13 Value 7-13 league Rank Week 1-6 Value 1-6 league Rank Rank Difference
Passer Rating 90 15 75.9 29 14
Interceptions Thrown 5 16 8 27 11
Total yards margin -237 24 -437 27 3
Total yards offense allowed 2000 13 2474 30 17
Defense yards/play 5.32 17 6.31 29 12
Opponent rush yards/attempt 3.49 2 4.22 14 12
Opponent penalty yards 412 11 332 23 12
Opponent 1st downs 116 13 128 23 10
Opponent 1st downs Pass 68 13 84 29 16
Yards/punt 48.33 2 44.12 24 22
1st half score margin -12 19 -50 30 11
Average Rank Improvement 12.7

 

Next we look at what all offensive drives resulted in as a percent of all drives. It splits weeks 7-13 and weeks 1-6. the better values are highlighted in yellow. (The unknown percent was a small percentage that pro football reference had no descriptor on.)

Offensive drive resulted Week 7-13 Week 1-6
Punt 30.9% 37.3%
Touchdown 20.6% 17.9%
Field Goal 8.8% 6.0%
Turnover 19.1% 22.4%
Downs 10.3% 7.5%
End of Half/Game 4.3% 1.5%
Missed FG 4.4% 1.5%
Unknown 1.5% 3.0%
Safety 0.0% 1.5%
Blocked Punt 0.0% 1.5%
99.9% 100.1%

 

Pat Shurmur is touted as being a quarterback whisperer.  How is Daniel Jones doing in his rookie year.

Here are his Giant quarterback rookie standings.

  1. First in Giants rookie passing yards.
  2. First in Giants rookie completion percentage.
  3. First in rookie Giant Passer rating – tie with Charlie Conerly .
  4. Second in Giants rookie passing touchdowns trailing Charlie Conerly by four.
  5. Third in Giant rookie Passing yards per attempt for 150+ attempts.
  6. First in 4th quarter rookie comebacks (150+ attempts) – tie with Eli Manning.
  7. First in Giants yards per rushing attempt for rookie quarterbacks.
  8. First in Giants quarterback rookie rushing yards.

Here are the league quarterback rookie records

  1. Only rookie quarterback to have three games of 300+ passing yards, two passing touchdowns and zero interceptions.
  2. Only rookie quarterback to have two games of 300+ passing  yards and four passing touchdowns.
  3. One of four rookie quarterbacks to have two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a game.
  4. Currently fourth this season in a streak of games with a passing touchdown with ten games.
  5. His current active streak of 10 games with a passing touchdown is three behind the rookie record of 13 games held by Peyton Manning and Baker Mayfield.

The Giants have played tough all season and have not shown any sign of giving up. Eight of their ten losses were relatively close games going into the fourth quarter. Some got away from them at the end and the final score does not reflect how close the game was. Here is a summary of how close the games were for the season.

Date Opponent How Close?
09/08/19 Cowboys blowout Giant loss
09/15/19 Bills 7 point game 3 minutes into 4th quarter
09/22/19 Buccaneers Giant Win
09/29/19 Redskins Giant Win
10/06/19 Vikings blowout Giant loss
10/10/19 Patriots 7 point game ½ way into the 4th quarter
10/20/19 Cardinals 3 point game down to 2:13 minutes left
10/27/19 Lions 5 point game 3 minutes into 4th quarter, 5 point game with 1:23 remaining
11/04/19 Cowboys 5 point game 3 minutes into 4th quarter
11/10/19 Jets 7 point game with 7:39 remaining
11/24/19 Bears 5 point game with 4:17 remaining
12/01/19 Packers 4 point game starting 4th quarter

 

The Giants were one of six teams that were within one score margin or better of the Patriots after three quarters. The Patriots are 10-2 on the season.

The Giants have built a new team over the last four years. There are only two players that have been on the team before 2016 – Eli Manning and Zak DeOssie. Only three players were acquired in 2016 and five in 2017. The rest of the team became a Giant over the last two years. That is 63 players. Think about the fact the Sterling Shepard is one of the Giant veterans when you look at years on the team. They may not have the youngest team but I would speculate that they may have one of the newest teams. Add to that a rookie quarterback and a second year coach.

In terms of Giant history the worst stretch for the team was from 1964 thru 1980. Over those 17 seasons the Giants never made the playoffs and went thru eight quarterbacks. They finished last in their division 9 seasons of the 17. In four seasons less than that time-span or the last 13 seasons the Giants have won two Super Bowls, had one quarterback and finished last in the division two times.

The Giants have gone thru three coaches and one interim coach in the last five years. That matches the Cleveland Browns record for their last five years. For his article Does Firing the Head Coach Make NFL Teams More Successful? Yowana Wamala studied every season since 2007 to see how teams and their head coaches performed. He came to the conclusion that coaches should most likely be given at least 2 or 3 years to prove they can lead the team to winning seasons. Steeler head coach Chuck Noll had three losing seasons to start his career in Pittsburgh. His win percentage was 28% those first three years. He went on to lead his team to four Super Bowl victories.

I am not saying at this point that Shurmur should necessarily be brought back. I do think the general opinion I continue to hear of letting him go is premature. Why would you not want the four additional games to help make a decision. There is a lot to be said for stability and continuity. If improvements like the ones listed above continue and Daniel Jones maintains his level of play giving Shurmur another year may make the most sense.

Beating the Eagles on Monday Night Football would seal the deal for me!

Daniel Jones And Areas For Improvement To Finish The Season

In some posts I have referred to looking for continued improvement from Giant’s quarterback Daniel Jones. Today I look at his statistics, his standing among rookie quarterbacks and which ones could use some improvement.

Daniel Jones has 17 passing touchdowns in nine games. That is tie for seventh among quarterback’s first nine starts going back to 1950. Barring injury or an Eli manning farewell tour Jones will finish the season with 14 games started. To break the top ten he would need to score eight passing touchdowns over the next five games. He is on track to add nine additional touchdowns. No improvement is needed here just maintain current touchdown rate. Here are the top fourteen quarterbacks for passing touchdowns over their first 14 career starts.

Daniel Jones is twenty-ninth among rookie quarterbacks since 1950 in passer rating for their first fourteen career starts. He has a passer rating of 87.9. To break the top twenty Jones  would need to finish with a passer rating of 91.5. That is a slight improvement needed on passer rating. Here are the top twenty-nine rookie quarterbacks in  passer rating for their first 14 career starts.

Daniel Jones is eighth in quarterback rushing yards per attempt among rookie quarterbacks first fourteen career starts since 1950 with 250 pass attempts. No improvement is needed here just maintain current rushing productivity. Here are the top twelve rookie quarterbacks with 250 pass attempts for their 14 career starts.

Daniel Jones is thirtieth among quarterbacks in completion percentage for their first 14 career starts. In order to crack the top twenty he would need to improve from 62.5% to 63.45%. This is a slight improvement needed in completion percentage. Here are the top twenty quarterbacks in their first fourteen career starts.

On the negative side is Jones’ fumbles. He leads the league in fumbles with 14. His fourteen fumbles is the season record going back to 2017 when Jameis Winston had 15. This problem has gotten worse. In his first five games Jones had three fumbles. In his last five games he has had eleven fumbles.  This is an are that needs significant improvement over the next five games. Jones has already tied for the most fumbles by a quarterback in their first 14 starts. Here is the list of quarterbacks first 14 starts with 300+ pass attempts sorted by increasing fumbles.

Daniel Jones is doing well concerning interceptions. Among quarterback’s first nine career starts Jones ranks tie at 51st in decreasing number of interceptions thrown with eight. He has even improved that over the last five games. In his first five career starts he had seven of those eight interceptions and only one in the last four games.  Jones is tie at 15th in quarterback’s first 14 career starts for interceptions with a minimum 300 passing attempts.  Here are the top 25 quarterbacks for their first 14 career starts in increasing interceptions for 300 passing attempts.

Daniel Jone is twenty-sixth among quarterbacks first 14 career starts in yards per pass attempt. In order to move into the top twenty Jones would need a small improvement from 6.43 yards per attempt to 6.66 yards per attempt. Here are the top twenty-six qurterbacks in their first fourteen career starts.

Daniel Jones is eleventh is passing yards for quarterback’s first career nine starts. There is no need for improvement here. By maintaining his current 235 passing yards per game Jones will move into seventh place among quarterbacks passing yards in their first 14 career starts. Here are the top twenty over their first 14 career starts.

In conclusion, Daniel Jones has done well so far in his rookie season. What does he need to do to cement himself as a historically top rookie quarterback. Some statistics are there already and only require maintaining the status quo. Those are passing touchdowns, rushing yards per attempt, interceptions thrown and passing yards. Others require just a small improvement which would be passer rating, completion percentage and yards per pass attempt. The only one that needs significant improvement is the fumbles.

Ten Areas the Giants Have Improved And Thoughts On Coach Changes

For a 2-9 season you hope to see some indications that things are improving. It is hard to see that during a seven game losing streak. Quarterback Daniel Jones has been a bright spot for the season as detailed in my post The Giants And Daniel Jones. However overall there are areas that the Giants have improved as the season progressed. Today I list ten statistics that show a significant improvement between the last five game (weeks 7-12) and the prior five games (weeks 2-6). The recent five game statistics appear first in the following list.

  1. Giant Passer rating 97.8 (10th) from 71 passer rating (30th)
  2. Giant QB Passes intercepted of 2 (7th) from 8 Passes intercepted (31st)
  3. Total yards margin of -250 yards (24th) from -413 yards (28th)
  4. Total yards of offense allowed 1,678 (11th) from 1,980 yards allowed (28th).
  5. Defensive yards per play of 5.29 (16th) from 6.00 defensive yards per play (23rd)
  6. Opponent Rushing Yards per attempt of 3.57 (2nd) from 4.47 opponent yards/attempt (19th)
  7. Opponent penalty yards of 371 (4th) from 285 opponent penalty yards (19th)
  8.  First downs by pass of 60 (19th) from 52 first downs by pass (25th)
  9. Yards per punt of 48.4 (1st) from 44.59 yards per punt (24th)
  10. First half score margin of -5 (17th) from First half score margin of -36 (28th)

There is improvement that is hard to see during a seven game losing streak. The last five games will be critical in determining the fate of the Giants’ coaching staff for next year.  Here is a quote from a pre-season interview with Giant President and CEO John Mara.

Q: What do you need to see this season to consider it a success, or a step forward?

A: We need to win some games. I want to feel like at the end of the season we’re moving in the right direction. I’m not going to say it has to be a minimum number of games that we have to win, or we have to make the playoffs. I want to feel when I’m walking off the field after the last game of the season, whenever that is, that this franchise is headed in the right direction. That’s, to me, the most important thing.

The season is actually two mini-seasons. If Mara is looking for a franchise headed in the right direction the way the team finishes in the second half of the season is a logical place to look. The first half was  marred by factors that helped contribute to poor performance. They include

  1. Transitioning to a rookie quarterback after two games,
  2. A four game suspension of Golden Tate,
  3. The loss of Saquon Barkley for 3.5 games due to injury, and
  4. The loss of Sterling Shepard for four games due to injury.

With most starting players now returned the latter half of the season gives a better indication of where the franchise is headed. Like the ten statistics examined above the last eight games could be compared to the first eight to see if improvements are maintained or even increased.

In the article Does Firing the Head Coach Make NFL Teams More Successful? Yowana Wamala lists historical data as to why bringing a coach back after a losing season may be better than getting a new one. The data indicates that after a losing season a new coach statistically will get you about two more wins the next season. Whereas keeping the coach statistically will get you about three more wins. Three years seems to be the longest you would keep a losing coach based on the historical data. After that things typically do not get better. The article also shows that since 2007 a team’s win percentage historically decreases as the number of head coaches increase in a short time-frame of five years.

In their study paper How Much Do Coaches Matter? Berry and Fowler appear to substantiate the previous data that contrary to popular belief coaches do not have that profound an effect on the outcome of a team’s season. Specifically for NFL coaches they came in at affecting various game aspects for 18.5% to 29.3%. When it came to victories they concluded the coach effect to be 21.1%. However in a 16 game season that amounts to potentially 3 additional victories due to good coaching. That is significant for teams on the cusp of the playoffs. For teams with a 2-9 record it would not matter much. Their study would negate the view that attributes a 2-9 season to mostly the coach.

A couple of wins in the second half of the season would go a long way in improving the team outlook. However I do not believe they are required to come to the conclusion that the team is improving. Improved play by Daniel Jones, statistical improvement across the team, and close competitive games could be enough to bring Shurmur and staff back. The historical data on a coaches effect on team output and the other data on the effects of coaching changes appear to support giving Shurmur one more year if the second half of the season shows improvement. Daniel Jones has played well as a rookie quarterback. There is something to be said for maintaining continuity with a new quarterback that has been improving under the coaching staff.  The Giants are already on their third head coach and one interim coach in five years. Unless there is some solid proven commodity available, like Bill Belichick,  it may be best to stay put for one more year.

The Giants And Daniel Jones

Another disappointing loss for the Giants in a winnable game. They now sit at 2-9 and are still mathematically in the playoff race due to the poor performance of the NFC East. The Giants have been eliminated from a wildcard chance but still can win the division as the leader Dallas is only four games ahead with five games remaining.

One of the sole bright spots of the season remains the play of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. He orchestrated a fourth quarter scoring drive that went from their three yard line, 97 yards. The drive was capped off with a beautiful 23 yard pass to GoldenTate in the end zone with three defenders in the area. That pulled the Giants within five points with 4:17 left to play.

For the season Jones’ statistics puts among a handful of rookie quarterbacks with comparable good stats. Here are the rookie quarterbacks from 1950 to 2019, in their first nine career starts with a Pass Completion % >= 62, Passing TDs >= 17,  Passes Intercepted <= 8 and Yds/Pass Att >= 6.4.

 

Here are the rookie quarterbacks for single seasons, from 1920 to 2019, with 100+ Pass Attempts, a Pass Interception % <= 2.5, a Pass Completion % >= 62, Yds/Pass Att >= 6.4 and Passing TD % >= 5.

 

Up until week eleven Daniel Jones ranked 13th among quarterbacks for best bad throw percentage with a 15.3%. Among quarterbacks in their third year or less only Baker Mayfield has a better bad throw percentage with a 15.2%.

Among quarterbacks this season that have started 4+ games, Daniel Jones has the most quarterback hits per game started averaging 4.7 hits per game.

Daniel Jones is the only rookie quarterback ever to have two games of 300+ passing yards and 4 passing touchdowns. He is the only rookie quarterback ever with 3 games of 300+ passing yards, two passing touchdowns and zero interceptions. Jim Kelly and Dak Prescott are the only rookie quarterbacks that had two such games.

Daniel Jones has made the first down on 47.1% of his 34 rushing attempts. That is the highest percent for quarterbacks with 18+ rush attempts.

Daniel Jones is fourth in the league in active streaks of games with a passing touchdown with all nine of his starting games having a passing touchdown. That also sets a Giant franchise record. Baker Mayfield who holds the rookie touchdown record had 13 consecutive games with a passing touchdown in his rookie season. I am not sure if that is the consecutive record. Anyways Jones has a shot of passing that consecutive streak.

(Update: Daniel Jones is one of eight quarterbacks since 19070 that had 9+ consecutive starts with a touchdown pass in their career starts. The record is held by Kurt Warner who had 23 consecutive starts with a touchdown pass).

Jones now has two consecutive games without an interception and three of his last four.

Daniel Jones has been a bright spot in a dismal season for the Giants. His rookie accomplishments are amazing and an encouraging sign that they may have found their next franchise quarterback. That would be quite an accomplishment to transition from one franchise quarterback to another.  It is still to soon to tell but it looks promising.

The next five games are important to hopefully see Daniel Jones continue to progress.  Jones has praised head coach Pat Shurmur his help in Jones’ development as a quarterback.

“Coach Shurmur has done a ton for me in my growth and development,” Jones said. “He’s been extremely patient with me and supportive of me. I’ve been up and down. I’ve played well at times and not so well at times. He’s continued to support me and continued to coach me hard and give me the points of emphasis. That’s been a huge help for me.”

Like the Giants front office we need to wait to see how the remaining five games play out, how the team plays and how Daniel Jones develops. A continued growth by Jones and a team that fights to the bitter end will go a long way to securing Shurmur’s position as head coach for next year. A couple of wins in there will also help. I don’t know if Shurmur should or should not be back. I will wait until all the data is in and see how they finish up.

Giants And Four Seasons Of Outstanding Rookie Players

The Giants have had four consecutive seasons of an outstanding rookie season from one of their draft picks since 2016.  Here are the rookies for each season.

2019 – Daniel Jones

In a single season, from 1950 to 2019, in first season, started the game, in the Regular Season, player’s 8th career start at QB or earlier, requiring Pass Completion % >= 60 and Passing Yds >= 1900 and Passing TD >= 15 and Passer Rating >= 85. Only two quarterbacks meet the criteria.

 

2018 – Saquon Barkley– 2018 PFWA All-Rookie Team

2018 – Will Hernandez – 2018 PFWA All-Rookie Team

In a single season, from 1950 to 2019, in first season, in the Regular Season, played RB, requiring Yds/Rushing Att >= 4 and Touchdowns >= 10 and Yds From Scrimmage >= 2000

 

In addition to making the PFWA All-Rookie Team, Will Hernandez made the Pro Football Focus All-Rookie Team. Here is what they had to say about Hernandez

He finished with the league’s second-highest grade for a rookie interior offensive linemen and was only penalized two times across 1,027 snaps.

2017 – Evan Engram– 2017 PFWA All-Rookie Team

2017 – Dalvin Tomlinson – 2017 PFWA All-Rookie Team

In a single season, from 1992 to 2019, in first season, in the Regular Season, played TE, requiring Receiving Yds >= 700 and Yds/Reception >= 11 and Receiving TD >= 6 and Yds/Target >= 6. Only Evan Engram meets the criteria.

Here are defensive tackles in a single season, from 2006 to 2019, in first season, in the Regular Season, played DT, requiring Sacks >= 1 and Tackles Solo >= 30 and Tackles For Loss >= 1 and QB Hits >= 1. Dalvin Tomlinson is one of only eleven to meet that criteria over the last 10 seasons.

 

2016 – Sterling Shepard – 2016 PFWA All-Rookie Team

In a single season, from 1992 to 2019, in first season, in the Regular Season, played WR, requiring Receiving Yds >= 680 and Receiving TD >= 8 and Catch Pct >= 61.5 and Yds/Target >= 6

Since 2016 only the Saints have had more rookies on the PFWA All-Rookie Team with seven. The Giants are tie for second most with the Chiefs with five rookies making the 2016-2018 PFWA All-Rookie Team. Thirteen teams or 41%  have had only one draft pick make the PFWA All-Rookie Team from 2016-2018.  In conclusion things are not so bad with the Giants as some social media and news media outlets promote. They have been doing somethings right.

Historically Outstanding Players Eleven Weeks Thru The Season

Today I look at some team statistics and then player statistics that stand out historically at eleven weeks thru the season.

The Ravens have the best running game going in over the last forty five years. Here are all the teams ever that had 2000+ rushing yards, a 5+ yards per rush attempt and 10+ rushing touchdowns by week eleven in the season.

 

The above table shows how teams have moved away from the run game. Here we see how the league has become more of a passing league. Here are all the teams  ever that by week 11 had 3000+ passing yards, 20+ passing touchdowns and a passer rating of 100+.

 

There are only 24 teams that meet that criteria and 18 are in this decade. Before 2000 only the 1984 Dolphins makes the list with Dan Marino as quarterback. The Patriots with Tom Brady makes the list the most with five seasons. That is followed by Drew Brees and the Saints with four seasons. Kansas and Patrick Mahomes is on a streak with two consecutive seasons on the list.  This is a team list so Carson Palmer made those stats in 2015 on the Cardinals but the team failed to meet them. Likewise Mahomes , Brees and Warner had a season where the team made the stats but they failed individually to meet them.

Panther Christian McCaffrey is the first player since 2014 to have 1500+ yards from scrimmage by week eleven.  Here is  the short list of impressive players that have accomplished this.

 

Buccaneer quarterback Jameis Winston is the first player since 2016 to throw over 160 incomplete passes by week eleven.  There have been only nine players to throw that many  in that time-frame in this decade.

 

Winston also holds the dubious record of being the first player of this decade to throw 18 interceptions by the eleventh week of the season.  Here is a list of players to do so over the last 30 years. He actually sits with some pretty great quarterbacks.

 

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is the only quarterback  since 2017 to throw for 5.6 or less yards per pass attempt over the first eleven weeks of the season. There have been only eleven since 2007.

 

Raven quarterback Lamar Jackson is the only player since 1973 to have 6.7+ yards per rushing attempt eleven weeks into the season with a minimum 100 rushing attempts.

 

Saints receiver Michael Thomas is the only player ever to have 90+ receptions by the eleventh week of a season. Here is the short list of players that have had 80+.

 

Viking receiver Stefon Diggs is one of only five players since 1992 to have 13+ receiving yards per target with 40+ targets eleven weeks into the season.

 

Cardinal linebacker Jordan Hicks is the only player since 2014 to have 110+ tackles eleven weeks into the season. Here is a short list of twelve players that have accomplished this since 1950.

 

Giant quarterback Daniel Jones is one of only five players since 1950 to have 11+ fumbles after eleven weeks of a season. It must be something in the atmosphere. Four of the five players are in this season. Jones is the only one with 13 fumbles the rest all have 11.

 

Week twelve has started. Enjoy the games!

 

Giants vs Bears Notes

Here is a team comparison of the Bears and Giants on some major statistics. The ones that are significantly different are highlighted with the better team in yellow.  The non-highlighted statistics are relatively close.

Poin Poin Poin Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Tot Tot Tot Tot Opp. Marg Marg Marg Marg
Tm W L PF PA PD Cmp% Yds TD Int Sk Rate Tot Y/P DY/P TO Opp3D% Rush Pass Tot TO
CHI 4 6 169 174 -5 63.9 1828 12 6 30 83.9 2627 4.342 4.9601 10 35.1% -157 -445 -602 4
NYG 2 8 203 289 -86 63.0 2280 17 10 34 85.8 3222 5.082 5.9641 24 40.8% -285 -310 -595 -12

 

The point differential is large. This difference is manifested in the Defensive yards/play (DY/P) and Opponent 3rd down conversion % (Opp3D%).

The turnovers are a big difference with the Bears having a positive 4 turnover margin to the Giants negative 12. Comparing Daniel Jones‘  first four games to his last four, the turnovers dropped from 11 to 9. However the Giant takeaways also decreased from 8 to 4. Comparing Mitch Trubiskey’s first four games to his last 5, the team turnovers increased from 2 to 6 and their takeaways decreased from 8 to 4.

Offensively the Giants have more success than the Bears. Here is a comparison of some major offensive statistics.

Points Passing Tot Yds & TO First Down % Downs Opp. Downs Margins
Tm W L PF PA PD Cmp% Yds TD Int Sk Yds Rate Tot Ply Y/P DPly DY/P TO First Down % 3D% Opp 3D% Rush Pass Tot TO
CHI 4 6 169 174 -5 63.9 1828 12 6 30 187 83.9 2627 605 4.3 651 4.96 10 27.9% 30.5% 35.1% -157 -445 -602 4
NYG 2 8 203 289 -86 63.0 2280 17 10 34 260 85.8 3222 634 5.1 640 5.96 24 30.8% 39.8% 40.8% -285 -310 -595 -12

 

The Giants lead in passing yards, passing touchdowns, total yards, yards per play and 3rd down conversions.

Defensively the Bears win out and lead in most defensive statistics.

Tot Yds & TO Opp. Scoring Opponent Passing Opponent Rushing Opp. Downs
Tm W L Tot DP DY/P TD XPM Md Cmp% Yds TD Int Sk Rate Att Yds Y/A TD 1st Dwns 1st D / P Opp3D%
CHI 4 6 2627 651 4.96 19 14 14 66.8 2273 9 7 25 86.2 265 956 3.61 10 200 0.307219662058372 35.1%
NYG 2 8 3222 640 5.96 34 32 17 68.7 2590 17 8 24 103.5 303 1227 4.05 12 205 0.3203125 40.8%

 

They lead in defensive yards per play, and opponent statistics for  touchdowns, extra points, passing touchdowns, quarterback rating, rushing yards per attempt and 3rd down conversion.

That is probably not news to fans that follow either team. However what is interesting is that the most valuable team player in terms of team market share are on opposite teams from the teams you would expect based on who leads on offense or defense.

Everyone is aware of how dangerous Bears’ Khalil Mack is and how he helps to make that Bears defense as good as it is. However from a team market perspective the Giants’ Markus Golden has better numbers.  Here are the team market share numbers for both players.

Player Hrry QBKD Sk Prss Comb Solo TFL QBHits
Kahilil Mack 40.0% 12.0% 22.0% 29.0% 5.9% 6.8% 14.3% 15.1%
Markus Golden 24.2% 23.1% 27.1% 24.7% 6.8% 5.6% 17.9% 27.3%

Golden (6.5) has one more sack than Mack. Golden has 15 quarterback hits to Mack’s 8. Golden has 7 tackles for loss to Mack’s 5.  Mack has a higher number of pressure with 31 to Golden’s 24. Mack also has 22 hurries to Golden’s 8.  The pressure team market share numbers are not that different with Mack having a 29% and Golden having 24.7%. The hurry team market share numbers do stand out loudly in Mack’s favor with 40% to Golden’s 24.2%.  Anyways we hear such hype about Khalil Mack and it will be hyped up for and during the game. The Giants will definitely be game planning around Khalil Mack. But be aware that Marcus Golden is a force that the Bears will have to account for.  The Giants have brought Golden on a blitz 47 times in ten games compared to 36 time Mack was brought.  Through week eight of the season Pro Football Focus ranked the Chicago Offensive Line 27th in the league. Hopefully Golden can be used to exploit that.

In college Golden finished his senior year with ten sacks which was good for 17th in the nation. He was also ninth in the nation in tackle for loss with twenty.  This despite suffering from a hamstring injury that slowed him down and miss a game. In his rookie year in 2015 he had his first career assisted  sack against the Bears. The next season in 2016 Golden was third in the league in sacks with 12.5. In 2017 Golden during the fourth game of the season Golden tore his ACL and was out for the season. Upon return in 2018 Golden only played on 35% of the defensive snaps for the Cardinals and recorded 2.5 sacks, 6 quarterback hits, 5 tackles for loss and 25 solo tackles.

Now on the flip side with the Giants excelling offensively the real offensive weapon on these team’s is Bear’s receiver Allen Robinson. He accounts for 31.4% of the Bears receiving yards. He has a 39.5% first downs per target. This by itself is not that impressive as four Giant receivers have similar percents – Cody Latimer (46.2%), Sterling Shepard (41.2%), Golden Tate (38%) and Darius Slayton (37.8%). However Robinson has done so with nearly twice as many targets with 86 targets on the year.

In his second year in the league in 2015 Robinson tied with Brandon Marshall and Doug Baldwin to lead the league in receiving touchdowns with 14. He was sixth in yards per reception (17.5) and in receiving yards (1,400).  He also had the longest reception that season with 90 yards. In 2017 week one he tore his ACL and was out for the season. He signed with the Bears for the 2018 season.  in 2019 he broke the Bears record for most receiving yards in a playoff game with 143. If the Giants can shutdown Robinson they have a great chance of winning the game.  Maybe the Giants will scheme to have Janoris Jenkins play a shadow role on Robinson. It should be interesting to see how they approach him.

Enjoy the Game!